Media training tip #2: Superficial but true!

200407103-001  So…you're going to be interviewed on your local TV noon news segment.  Or you have reporters calling because your company is in the middle of a controversial issue.  Or it might be that a blogger wants to do a digital interview using web cams.

No matter how friendly, how laid back or how intense a media interview might be — there are some basic rules you should remember to take full advantage of the opportunity (or to mitigate the damage if that's the scenario.) 

I'm going to share a series of tips that will help you make the most of your 15 minutes of fame!  Today, let's talk superficial — how do you look?

Only if you're doing a phone interview or going to appear on radio should this be a non-issue.  If that's your opportunity, go in footie PJ's if you want.

But assuming someone is going to see you, (still photograph, web cam or full on television crew) you're going to want to make sure that your appearance matches your message.

First:  Know yourself.  If you uncomfortable in a tie or fitted suit — don't wear it.  Even if that's how you should be dressed.  You want to come off as though you are confident and comfortable.  If you're not, that discomfort will translate to the audience and taint your message.

Know your body shape too.  Choose the clothes and the pose that put you in the best light.  For example, if you're short and self conscious about it — you might want to be photographed or interviewed sitting down.

Second:  No small patterns or horizontal stripes.  Both wreak havoc with TV cameras.  And unless you're a size 2, horizontal stripes don't help anyone's appearance.

Be mindful of cute patterns too.  No golf tee ties or busy scarves of apples and school buses.  That doesn't mean you need to be boring.  Unless that's your brand, of course!

Third:  No distractions.  Big jewelry, event or cause buttons, name tags, ascots — anything that draws the audience's attention from your face and your message — lose it.

They'll also make lighting a nightmare and you're likely to have reflections shooting off your body.  Never a good choice.

Finally:  Color matters.  Navy and black mean you're serious stuff.  Red is bold and powerful.  Greens tend to feel cool and mellow.  Yellow is a tricky color.  If you're fair skinned it can wash you out.  If you have a darker pigmentation — a pale yellow can look great on camera.  A bright blue feels edgy, teal feels cool but hip.

If you feel like a neutral is most appropriate, add a dash of color for accent and energy.

There you have it…when you feel good about how you're looking — you'll come off much more relaxed and confident.  

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6 comments on “Media training tip #2: Superficial but true!

  1. TJ Walker says:

    Good tips Drew. The main thing to keep in mind with your appearance on TV is that you don’t want people to be confused. If you are a dairy farmer, don’t wear a business suit. If you are a conservative value mutual fund investor, don’t wear a tie-dyed shirt.

  2. TJ,

    Excellent addition. It’s about being authentic and true to your brand.


  3. Pablo,

    I know some of the suggestions sound almost silly they’re so simple and yet people make these mistakes every day.

    And since most of us don’t get too many changes to appear in the media — we want to make the most of every one!

  4. Andy Nattan says:

    Great tips Drew. Now if I can just get myself on TV…

  5. Andy,

    Ha! You are right on the money. THAT’S the tough part!


  6. Thanks Drew McLellan. Its good informative tips you shared with us. You are pointed greatly about the costumes to select when appearing infront of the camera. Expecting more of this kind.

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